Long-term evaluation of field-wide oriental beetle (Col., Scarabaeidae) mating disruption in blueberries using female-mimic pheromone lures



The oriental beetle, Anomala orientalis (Waterhouse) (Col., Scarabaeidae), is the most important root-feeding pest of blueberries and turfgrass in New Jersey, USA. Previous studies showed that mating disruption is a feasible option for oriental beetle management; however, assessing its efficiency can be challenging, and little is known on its long-term effects. Accordingly, we conducted studies to investigate low-dose pheromone lures equivalent to oriental beetle females (i.e. female mimics) as easy-to-use indicators of mating disruption success, determine the distance at which oriental beetle males respond to female-mimic lures and assess the long-term (3-year) effects of mating disruption on oriental beetle populations in entire blueberry fields. Our studies showed that rubber septa baited with 0.3 μg of the oriental beetle sex pheromone (Z)-7-tetradecen-2-one attract similar numbers of males as compared with virgin females and can thus be used as a female mimic. The range of attraction of this lure was found to be also similar to virgin females and <30 m. In blueberries, mating disruption provided 87% inhibition of oriental beetle populations (trap shutdown) over a 3-year period. Oriental beetle male captures in disrupted fields were threefold higher along the field edges than in the field interiors, indicating movement of males from nearby areas into the pheromone-treated fields. In addition, mating disruption reduced male attraction to female-mimic lures by 93% in all 3 years and reduced the number of larvae in sentinel potted plants in 1 of 2 years. These results show for the first time that mating disruption provides consistent long-term field-wide control of oriental beetle populations and that female-mimic pheromone lures can be used as a new tool to assess oriental beetle mating disruption success.